Jean Charles Renaudat
farms 560ha (1384 acres)
of brash land 300km south
of Paris. Continuous wheat
has recently been replaced
by a wide-range of
HARVEST has finished following what was one of the shortest campaigns I can remember in 22 years of farming.
All crops were still standing, including rye, with reasonable quantities of straw. Everything was weed free and, with sunshine present for the party, it took two axial flow combines just six full days to do our 145ha (360 acres) of rye and 195ha (482 acres) of continuous wheat.
This summer is the first time we have combined the threshing force of our two farms, even though they are 64km (40 miles) apart. I feared and constantly had in mind the rainy conditions of the previous season which sent rye Hagbergs tumbling.
On the yield side oilseed rape has been disappointing at 2.6t/ha (21cwt/acre) due to frost at flowering and sulphur deficiency. However, with wheat we have reached our farm record of 8.1t/ha (3.3t/acre) with a burst at 9.2t/ha (3.7t/acre) off 17ha (42 acres) following fenugreek as the previous crop. Hagberg is 358, protein 12.4% and specific weight 82kg/hl.
Rye yielded 7.2t/ha (2.9t/acre) with a Hagberg of more than 300. We had a pleasant surprise on the variety side, an open pollinating non-hybrid called Canovus yielding as much as the best hybrids but from seed that is only 40% of the hybrid price.
Grain prices here are still far too low. Wheat is worth k76/t (£49/t) ex-farm. As I have said before, I believe Brussels European policy is buying our next food scandal by allowing the market to languish at these levels.
We have direct drilled second "catch" crops on 50ha (124 acres), foxtail millet following oilseed rape and an early variety of buckwheat following rye. Thanks to irrigation all emerged by the end of July, somewhat late even for a second crop, but we dont rely on these second crops to pay our bills, just our holidays.
Elsewhere, while we are waiting to combine winter beans, fenugreek and carrot seed we are busy spreading and breaking our cereal stubbles with heavy harrows. *
The cereal harvest is home on Jean-Charles Renaudats farm in central France, with pleasing wheat and rye results.